With a crash into a Blockbuster Video, Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) has made her Marvel Cinematic Universe trailer debut, as Marvel Studios finally released the first look at Captain Marvel on Tuesday morning. And it offered at least a few hints to the film’s storyline and the ways it diverges from the character’s history in the comics.
Created by Roy Thomas and Gene Colan in the 1960s as an Air Force officer tasked with maintaining security at a secret base, the character soon found herself caught up in an explosion with the company’s original Captain Marvel. Carol resurfaced with powers a few years later, adopted the identity of Ms. Marvel, became an Avenger, and took on a few new identities until finally embracing the name Captain Marvel in 2012.
But as the trailer revealed, the MCU’s version of Carol Danvers has been on a very different journey. Let’s take a look at five things we learned from the trailer.
Perhaps the key plot detail spoken in dialogue occurs midway through the trailer when Carol tells Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) that she keeps having memories of “a life here” on Earth. Unfortunately, she cannot tell if these glimpses of a forgotten past are real or something implanted. Throughout the remainder of the trailer, we see quick cuts to that life in the Air Force and, seemingly, a mission into space which first brings her into contact with the Kree Empire.
Thanks to statements made by Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige, we know Carol’s life more than likely began on Earth. But we also know the movie will begin with her already in space as a member of the Kree Starforce, working alongside Jude Law’s still unnamed character – though most suspect he will be that original Captain Marvel mentioned earlier – and future Guardians of the Galaxy antagonists Ronan (Lee Pace) and Korath (Djimon Hounsou). Which means Carol will have an interesting interior journey in the film – discovering who she was on Earth and what the Kree really did to her.
Also, she’ll beat up some Skrulls along the way.
And since Jackson’s Nick Fury is a featured character in the film, he will have a journey as well. As he states upfront, he was “ready to hang it up” before meeting Carol. Previously, we learned he is something of a “desk jockey” at this stage of his career. Considering the sort of wild lives people can have in S.H.I.E.L.D., starting from its days as the S.S.R. (Strategic Science Reserve), Fury’s dead-end job is very interesting. Since we know Hydra was active in the organization at the time, it is possible someone was purposefully keeping him down. It is also possible he just needed a part-alien hero to drop on his doorstep and call him into action.
Of course, as Fury mentioned in Captain America: The Winter Solider, trusting someone once cost him an eye and this could be very well be that story.
Meanwhile, the scenes with Fury show off Marvel’s uncanny de-aging technology once again. As in Iron Man 3, Ant-Man, and Ant-Man and the Wasp, the studio seems to go out of its way to de-age actors who were well-known at the time these scenes take place. For Jackson’s Fury, this means using sophisticated computer technology to make him look as he did in the post-Pulp Fiction era of his career. But unlike those earlier Marvel films, Jackson must be de-aged throughout the film, which may prove to be the biggest challenge for the tech thus far.
Also, the shot of his pager should evoke memories of Avengers: Infinity War’s credit sequence’s final moment.
In one of Fury’s opening lines, he refers to Carol as a “renegade soldier,” which suggests she may not be under orders to return to Earth. If the Kree suppressed her memory, it would be in their interests to keep her away from the planet. But considering her crash landing, coming to Earth may have been an accident beyond anyone’s control.
In considering the galactic situation of Captain Marvel‘s timeframe, it is important to remember the uneasy alliance between the Kree Empire and the Nova Empire (as seen in Guardians of the Galaxy) from the present-day MCU. The Kree are not exactly heroes, as evidenced by Ronan’s ultimate turn or their activities 90 years from now on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. And even those looking for a peace still maintain some of the xenophobia and hostility typically associated with the Empire. Their war with the Skrulls in Captain Marvel may not be as clear cut as the trailer suggests – note how heroic the Starforce seems in their few glimpses – and Carol’s unplanned trip home may have unseen repercussions worthy of a sequel.
Or, perhaps, those consequences will explain why she’s been gone for 20-odd years.
The Blockbuster Video may be the cheekiest way to tell you Captain Marvel takes place in the 1990s, but there are a number of other subtle details setting up not only the timeframe, but also a location not seen in a Marvel film in a very long time: Los Angeles.
Both the train station glimpsed in several shots and the train car Carol rides at one point are from the Blue Line, Los Angeles’ initial venture into the more robust train system the city (somewhat) enjoys today. At the time, though, it was something of an anomaly as the city went without trains for decades – see Who Framed Roger Rabbit for more information. But in featuring the Blue Line – and that very period-specific bus seen in a few shots – the trailer establishes that the city, not seen in a Marvel Studios production since the final moments of Iron Man 3, will matter once again. Or, at least, matter for the duration of the car chase Fury mentions at one point.
Nonetheless, the attention to those period details suggests the film will do more than just joke about lost businesses like Blockbuster and pagers in its recreation of the 1990s.
Thanks to Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., we know the the organization had access to Kree blood for quite some time. Fury used it to revive Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) after his apparent death in Marvel’s The Avengers and Coulson, in turn, used it to revive Daisy Johnson (Chloe Bennet). In fact, Couslon had to give up the blood’s restorative powers in exchange for Ghost Rider’s (Gabriel Luna) help late in S.H.I.E.L.D.’s fourth season. But the blood originated from the corpse of an ancient Kree subject left on Earth after the Inhuman rebellion in Earth’s pre-history. And other than that body, known as “G.H.,” S.H.I.E.L.D.’s knowledge of alien life until the Chitauri invasion is, presumably, quite limited.
This is doubly true if Captain Marvel ignores all of that S.H.I.E.L.D. history for its own ends.
Which means the film could detail the organization’s first encounter with alien life. If it respects S.H.I.E.L.D.’s plotlines, then, at the very least, it will chronicle the first encounter with living aliens and their potential hostile intent. In the case of the Skrulls, that potential is an absolute certainty. Considering both Fury and Coulson appear in the film, it may prove to be an ideal chance to illustrate just how connected the film and television series really are.
Also, it makes you wonder if Skrulls infiltrated Hydra…
Captain Marvel is in theaters March 8, 2019